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May 28, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Brokaw to host ‘Nightly’ until 2004

Tom Brokaw will remain anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News” through the end of November 2004, when Brian Williams will succeed Mr. Brokaw on “Nightly.”

In the meantime, Mr. Williams, 43, will be Mr. Brokaw’s permanent substitute anchor and will do more traveling to get additional seasoning and report for “Nightly” while continuing to serve as anchor and managing editor of “The News With Brian Williams,” which will become, at a date still to be determined, a CNBC-only newscast.

The rationales cited for positioning “The News” on CNBC included a compatibility between the urbane Mr. Williams and CNBC’s upscale core audience and a desire to not fragment his “News” audience. But the move of MSNBC to news talk programming this summer already had resulted in plans to move “The News With Brian Williams” to the less prime hour of 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on MSNBC, which will continue to be produced by MSNBC.

Both Mr. Brokaw and Mr. Williams’ deals were described as long term, but the network executives who hastily assembled a Tuesday afternoon press conference attended by both Mr. Brokaw and Mr. Williams refused to address any particulars of either man’s contract. They would not even say when either man agreed to sign a new contract.

Mr. Brokaw had been considering his options since taking an extended vacation last summer. Mr. Williams had been Mr. Brokaw’s unofficial heir apparent almost since he’d arrived at NBC News from WCBS-TV, New York, in 1993. After CBS News learned Mr. Williams’ plans, a flurry of stories speculated on how long Mr. Williams was willing to continue to wait to be flagship anchor and whether he’d be willing to wait somewhere other than at NBC.

Mr. Brokaw, 62, is expected to continue to contribute prime-time specials and other projects after he steps down from the “Nightly” post he has held since 1983.

Andrea Thompson to Court TV: Andrea Thompson, who raised eyebrows when she abruptly left her high-visibility post as a news reader for CNN Headline News, now will host a new two-hour Saturday programming block on Court TV.

The new block, which debuts June 8, replaces the Perry Mason programming Court has been running in the time period and is part of the network’s continuing efforts aimed at attracting younger demographics. The block, which will air under the tentative banner of “Follow Your Intuition,” will consist of two episodes of “Forensic Files” and a one-hour documentary.

Ms. Thompson is the high-profile former “NYPD Blue” actress who became a local news anchor, then was tapped by CNN to be the point woman for its 2001 redesign of Headline News.

(c) Copyright 2001 by Crain Communications